Sunday, 3 June 2012
A few images have appeared via Russian websites (links I have found through my new Russian contacts) that show specific Kompanie stowage on vehicles with another turret number. That is 8th K vehicles with 12th K turret numbering. The first image of 1231 below where the distinctive 8th K stowage of spare wheels is clear, which also carries the BalkenKreuz on the right fender box - see early posts on this blog http://barbaross4stuff.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/7th-pzdiv-12th-k.html This may be a signifier for the vehicles that swapped as original 12th K vehicles had the jack in its factory position.
The next series of images were taken by Soviet troops and show a KOed 1232 being inspected. Again the spare wheel brackets on the engine rear are very specific. It is clear in these images that the 12 has been applied in a different colour or type of paint.
These Russia images give us the best view yet of the complex brackets both loaded and empty.
So why this move? I am not aware of actual reference to this but my Divisional knowledge is very limited, the assumption must be that initial loses were higher in 12th K than 8th K and vehicles were therefore shifted from one unit to the other to fill those holes, keeping an equal balance of PzIVs across the Regiment. It looks as if the 3rd Zug in 12th K was the one to be filled this way. Or alternatively 8th K had such heavy losses that it was no longer sustainable and only 4th & 12th continued. I am on the hunt for evidence of a change of battalion structure within the Division at any point during 41.
Entries in the 17th PzDiv diary (mentioned in previous post) support this, detailing a number of occasions when vehicles from other units were moved to fill their units loses. Where there is crew but no tank and where there is tank but no crew, simple logistics I suppose.